Scottsdale: Economy

Major Industries and Commercial Activity

Tourism is Scottsdale's major industry and largest employer, providing jobs to 39 percent of the city's workers. Today, Scottsdale is home to more than 60 hotels and resorts with a combined total of more than 12,000 rooms. The city is also home to numerous high-technology firms such as Motorola Research and Development and Medical Operations. In addition, it is the location for a number of regional and national corporate headquarters.

Aviation is one of the fastest growing sectors of the Arizona economy. The Scottsdale Airport/Airpark was begun in the 1960s as a fully planned facility specifically designed to meet the needs of employers with air transportation requirements. By 2004, the Airpark had become one of Scottsdale's top employment centers, with nearly 50,000 people employed in retail, service, technological, and manufacturing industries. The Airpark houses some 2,200 businesses in all with a combined economic impact of nearly $3 billion annually.

Items and goods produced: electronics, wearing apparel, aerial maps

Incentive Programs—New and Existing Companies

Local programs

To encourage commercial development and facilitate the paperwork involved, the city offers developers a "One-Stop Shop" where all the necessary permits can be obtained from one office. The Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce administers The Scottsdale Partnership, which is actively involved in attracting and retaining businesses, offering incentives such as entrepreneurial start-up assistance and free, confidential business counseling. To encourage economic development, Scottsdale recently began a building permit fee waiver program which has spurred investment by hundreds of businesses.

State programs

Arizona is a pro-business state. It levies no unitary tax, no inventory tax, no franchise tax, no municipal income tax, and no sales tax on direct sales to the state or federal government. It has developed targeted incentives to encourage the recruitment of desirable new businesses and to encourage the growth of existing businesses.

Job training programs

A work force recruitment and job training program is administered by the state and provides training and retraining for specific employment opportunities with new and expanding businesses and businesses undergoing economic conversion. Scottsdale Community College offers training classes for local businesses ranging from nursing to the hospitality industry, to computer operations and other skills.

Development Projects

Groundbreaking began in 2000 on the $140 million Scottsdale Waterfront project, a retail, dining, entertainment, office, and residential complex planned on 12 acres southwest of Scottsdale and Camelback roads on the north side of the Arizona Canal. The development will also be home to the Fiesta Bowl headquarters and museum; five acres will consist of public open space that will feature an outdoor amphitheater, recreation paths along the canal, and public art. Phase One of the project is planned for completion by late 2005. In 2004, the City of Scottsdale, Arizona State University, and the ASU Foundation entered into a partnership to develop the ASU Scottsdale Center for New Technology and Innovation on 42 acres of land that was the former site of the Los Arcos Mall. The city agreed to purchase the site from the ASU Foundation for $41.5 million with the provision that the site would be available to the ASU Foundation to develop the ASU Scottsdale Center. The Center will focus on technology commercialization, entrepreneurship, and business development. When completed in 2006, the Center is expected to provide approximately 4,000 jobs and a return of approximately $146 million in direct revenues to the city.

Economic Development Information: Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce, 4343 N Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85251; telephone (480)945-8481; fax (480)947-4523. Scottsdale Economic Development Department, One Civic Center, 7447 E. Indian School Road, Scottsdale, AZ; telephone (480)994-7989

Commercial Shipping

Air freight is handled at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, a 20-minute drive from downtown Scottsdale. Arizona is crisscrossed by five U.S. interstate highways and by a growing system of state roadways. The interstates permit rapid motor freight delivery because of their by-pass features, no slowdown in the metro areas, and no toll roads or toll bridges. Numerous general interstate and transcontinental truck lines serve the city and state. Although there are no railroads in Scottsdale's city limits, the Southern Pacific and the Santa Fe lines connect in adjacent Tempe.

Labor Force and Employment Outlook

Scottsdale's labor force offers a complex blend of skills, abilities, and experience levels, and more than 100,000 highly educated and skilled workers. Scottsdale's economic base is primarily supported by the hospitality and tourism industries; other supports are business, professional and financial services, healthcare, retail, electronics, and corporate headquarters.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Scottsdale labor force, 2004 annual averages.

Size of non-agricultural labor force: 1,674,800

Number of workers employed in . . .

natural resources and mining: 2,000

construction: 140,000

manufacturing: 130,500

trade, transportation and utilities: 339,600

information: 35,700

financial activities: 137,400

professional and business services: 270,900

educational and health services: 172,600

leisure and hospitality: 160,500

other services: 64,200

government: 220,900

Average hourly earnings of production workers employed in manufacturing: $13.85

Unemployment rate: 4.0% (January 2005)

Scottsdale: Economy

Largest employers Number of employees
Scottsdale Healthcare Group 4,473
Mayo Clinic Scottsdale Systems 4,000
General Dynamics-Decision Systems #48 3,600
Scottsdale Unified School District 2,700
Advance PCS 2,700

Cost of Living

The cost of living in the Phoenix metropolitan area, of which Scottsdale is a part, is above the national average.

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Average House Price: $349,640

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Cost of Living Index: 122.5 (U.S. average = 100.0)

State income tax rate: Ranges from 2.87% to 5.04%

State sales tax rate: 5.6% (food and prescription drugs are exempt)

Local income tax rate: None

Local sales tax rate: 1.65%

Property tax rate: $9.30 per $100 of assessed value for a Scottsdale resident living within the Scottsdale Unified School District (2004)

Economic Information: Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce, 4343 N Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85251-4498; telephone (480)945-8481